Cabinet welcomes outcomes of WTO MC12 in Geneva

The WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) began on 12 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 23-06-2022 17:04 IST | Created: 23-06-2022 17:04 IST
Cabinet welcomes outcomes of WTO MC12 in Geneva
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI
  • Country:
  • South Africa

Cabinet at its meeting welcomed the outcomes of the WTO MC12 held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 12 to 17 June 2022, in particular the decision that eligible countries could override COVID-19 vaccine patents until 2027.

The decision on whether to extend this to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics was delayed for six months.

Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing held in Pretoria earlier today, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said South Africa had been leading the call for the WTO to waiver intellectual property rights tied to COVID-19 vaccines that will ensure equal access to vaccines and enable countries that have the capability to manufacture vaccines to do so.

"The conference also committed to an open and inclusive process to reform all its functions and agreed to a package of trade deals addressing areas such as health, setting limits on fishing subsidies, a moratorium on e-commerce trade and food security," Gungubele said.

The WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) began on 12 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva.

Round-the-clock negotiations among delegations produced the "Geneva Package", which contains a series of unprecedented decisions on fisheries subsidies, WTO response to emergencies, including a waiver of certain requirements concerning compulsory licensing for COVID-19 vaccines, food safety and agriculture, and WTO reform.

The "Geneva Package" confirms the historical importance of the multilateral trading system and underlines the important role of the WTO in addressing the world's most pressing issues, especially at a time when global solutions are critical.

Ministers from across the world attended the meeting to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, to make general statements and to take action on the future work of the WTO.

Ministers agreed on a process for addressing longstanding calls for reform of the WTO.

The MC12 outcome document commits members to work towards reform of the organization to improve all its functions through an open, transparent and inclusive process.

(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)

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